About “A Testament to Murder” by Vivian Conroy::
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Realistic Fiction
“At the lush Villa Calypso on the French Riviera, a dying billionaire launches a devious plan: at midnight each day he appoints a new heir to his vast fortune. If he dies within 24 hours, that person takes it all. If not, their chance is gone forever.
Yet these are no ordinary beneficiaries, these men who crossed him, women who deceived him, and distant relations intent on reclaiming the family fortune. All are determined to lend death a hand and outwit their rivals in pursuit of the prize.
As tensions mount with every passing second, retired Scotland Yard investigator Jasper must stay two steps ahead of every player if he hopes to prevent the billionaire’s devious game from becoming a testament to murder…”
Deathbed scenarios are one of my favorites and Vivian Conroy nailed it! A masterfully written mystery with all the trademarks: murder, suspicion, devious plots, and a supremely intelligent investigator. As cliche as it sounds to say it keeps you guessing to the end, it really does. Even after everything is revealed, there are still twists to the story.
The first thing I enjoyed was how the book tells each character’s experience, not through the eyes of the investigator, but focused on the characters themselves. Despite this, the author doesn’t let anything slip that will spoil the mystery. In fact, it makes it even harder to figure out even though it seems the reader is aware of most things.
We’re introduced to ‘Uncle Malcolm,’ an incredibly rich and unlikable man who brings his estranged friends and family together on his deathbed. It appears clear that nobody is there with any true interest in the man’s plight, but rather wanting to know who will inherit his wealth…or is there another reason altogether they agree to come?
Malcolm basically explains how he dislikes all of them and none are worthy to be his heir. But since he is dying, he needs to sort the matter out. His proposal? Every night he will rewrite his will to include only one person as heir, giving them each an equal chance. He tells them he is fully aware that this is inviting someone to figure out when their name is written and kill him before that day’s end.
However, those present start being killed off (or attempt to be killed off) instead of him. A friend of Malcolm who was previously an investigator comes in to handle the case personally. While the others try to figure it out while pointing blame for the incident and also plotting as to how they may ensure they’re the one named heir, only more questions come from it.
Even in the end when things seem to fall into place, there are twists and other surprises. Fans of mystery will love this book and even those who don’t normally read the genre will find it enticing, I’m sure.
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
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